Sydney on business - time for GBR?

May 28th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 9
Sydney on business - time for GBR?

I will be in Sydney on business June 20-28 and will be staying in Australia until July 6 or 9. Do I have time to get up to the GBR? Are there dive shops on the 'beach', or do I need to hook something up from Canada?
Any recommendations on "must do's" while in Sydney? Have a fair amount of 'play' time.

treebc is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 03:29 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,018
The short answer is "YES" and cheaply, too. or or
to Cairns, where there are dive shops, boats etc.

This link will give you a start:

BUT I think you'll probably get the best info by doing a search here on Fodors. Just put "GBR - diving" into the "search" space above for lots of current info.

BTW That "beach" you see on your map of Cairns is pretty much a mud flat in the city area ... it's not like Asia where you can just cruise along & get the first bod with a boat to give you a tank, goggles & fins and drop you on the reef (LOL). Don't worry, though, there are dive shops galore. I'm assuming you're PADI or equivalent certified? Make sure you bring your current certification with you.

"Must do's" in Sydney would depend entirely on your tastes, and to a lesser degree, where you will be located. So give us some clues and you'll have lots of helpful suggestions.

I guess the equivalent would be my saying "I'm going to Quebec/Ontario, what should I see?"
Bokhara is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 04:23 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 677
Bokhara is spot on.

Some folk might have clubs and live music on their list of must dos. Others might be nature frantics.

But seeing as you are asking, and to get you started, cos you can look all this stuff up on the net, or in a book.

My list would include:

Circular Quay, the SOH, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Art Gallery of NSW. You can do all this on foot in a day.

A trip on the ferry to Manly - if you want to swim/surf go for the day, otherwise go early afternoon; take a walk and come back at dusk (especially in the winter).

And as it's winter, take a trip on a ferry to Darling Harbour and be sure to come back as the sun is setting.


Go to a performance at the SOH. If you are really into the theatre go to a performance at the STC's Wharf Theatre too - wonderful location and some excellent offerings.

WALK across the Harbour Bridge, exploring the Upper Rocks area beforehand, and the Museum in the SE pylon too. Take the train back from Milson's Point stn to the city, or take the ferry.

Visit the Hyde Park Barracks and the Museum of Sydney if you are interested in trying to imagine how this city came to be here.

Go to Bondi and walk the cliff walk.


Happy travels.

chimani is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
Yeah, the best place to fly to would be Cairns to head out to the GBR. There are countless boats leaving from there every day, so you can easily book a trip from Sydney (or wait 'til you get to Cairns). You should decide if you want a smaller, more intimate boat or a bigger, more stable boat. Also, are you planning on diving or snorkeling? Lastly, do you want to try other activities on the GBR, such as a helicopter flight, semi-submersible trip, or viewing platform?
ALF is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 08:43 AM
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This is great, thank you so much. I am glad to be able to get some diving in while I'm there, and will check out the sites you posted for more info.
I'll be staying in Darling Harbour while on business in Sydney. The trip is kind of a last minute plan and I don't know much about the area so any suggestions you have on things to do would be great.

Thanks again!
treebc is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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treebc - how long do you have to spend in Cairns/GBR? We spent 4 nights on the Spirit of Freedom liveaboard in March - it was great diving......they also have a 3 night cruise.

Here's a link to our (unfiltered) pics from our dive cruise -

It's the site - it should take you directly to the pictures but if not you don't need a password to view it - just click on "view slideshow".

Happy to answer any questions - we're in Toronto.
Elizabeth_S is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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Some great pics Elizabeth! Love the shark photos. I see everyone is in full suites - was it chilly? I also know you are holding on to the anchor line while you decompress - strong current? Great to know they have sort liveaboard trips - will definitely look into that. Am traveling single - do you think that will be a problem?
treebc is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
treebc -
Spirit Freedom is an excellent liveaboard suggestion, but be aware that July is the beginning of peak tourist season here in FNQ and you may find difficult to snare a spot aboard.

Tusa Dive, locally owned since 1986, owns Spirit of Freedom and also runs daily dive trips out of Cairns; it has a "roaming permit" to visit many reef sites and if you take daily dives over several days it won't visit the same reef twice.
pat_woolford is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Regarding wetsuits - actually the water was really warm - 25C - we only wore the nylon liner for protection from jellyfish - didn't wear the lycra suit.....but I can't comment about July.

Re hanging on the line - it was a safety requirement for us all to hang on the line for 5 minutes despite your depth......they are very safety conscious on the SOF - once or twice the current was a bit strong but nothing difficult - they always sent a diver out before a dive to gauge the current.

Re singles - there were 5 singles on board the cruise we took at the end of March - it seemed pretty common.......highly recommend the Spirit of Freedom

Elizabeth_S is offline  
May 30th, 2007, 12:43 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,018
Treebc, I'm an idiot - Sorry! Thanks Pat for reminding me it's school holidays in July. (Not having any rugrats, I forget about that except when I notice the traffic's better (LOL))

Treebc, have a look at - they have daily "happy hour" specials (AEST noon - 1pm), and if you see something great for Sydney - Cairns, it might be worthwhile grabbing it.

Don't know anything about it, but see "Aussie Pass" mentioned from time to time. It seems to allow internal air travel at pretty good rates, so it may also be worth your while to investigate that.

The diving up there is SENSATIONAL! I'm already feeling that creeping green of envy as Sydney's gearing up for a frost tomorrow morning

Bokhara is offline  
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